Something For The Weekend?


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Warren Ellis is a strange old fella. Not your usual comic author, nor, if you check out his actual book book type book, Crooked Little Vein, your typical anything sort of author. Instead he sits somewhere between individual story creators like Alan Moore and serious, series focussed people like Robert Kirkman.

Ellis isn’t about a decade long journey in the company of a single superhero. Instead he’s a wham! bam! here’s a quick idea man. For him it’s all about taking a great idea, throwing it out there and moving right on down the road. Ideas like Ministry of Space, Oceans and Supergod. Great ideas, a few issues, a conclusion and he walks on down the road like some crazy assed blues singer with a cracked up voice and a heinous addiction for novelty.

Trees is like a halfway house of Ellis. Volume 1 collects 8 (yes count them, 8) whole issues and you sense it’s barely got started. Sure there’s the simple, yet elegant idea that is the baseline of any good Ellis riff, and there’s the blunt end to parts of the storyline as you sense Ellis goes, “well, I’m sure glad to have gotten that off my chest, time for character X to begone in the most gratuitous way possible.” But there are also elements that you sense will take far longer to resolve.

Trees’ premise is simple and elegant. What would happen if aliens landed on earth and did nothing, not even deigning to register that we were intelligent, or even alive? In this case the aliens are enormous things, dwarfing anything man can construct – the Trees of the title. They land, some in the Arctic, some in major cities like New York and Rio. And they just stand there. And life goes on.

Trees is about what happens as life goes on, how humans adapt to the unknown and mysterious, how the Trees begin to exert their pressure on the world. It’s about science, love, experimentation and the kind of long term planning that very few people ever get their heads around. And it’s great. And the best thing is that, unlike so many of Ellis’ other books, this one looks like it might just run on a bit too.

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